PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Father: I'm a Piece of Shit

Rapper Father returns with more debauchery. But he’s feeling more conflicted about it.


Father

I’m a Piece of Shit

Label: Awful
US Release Date: 2016-03-25
UK Release Date: 2016-03-25
Amazon
iTunes

After an album of oversized debauchery called Who’s Gonna Get F**ked First?, Father returns with…. more debauchery. But he’s feeling more conflicted about it. The title “I’m a Piece of Shit” is your first clue. That sentiment juxtaposed with a cover drawing of a happy, flower-child Father is meant to be funny -- everything Father does is, to some extent, meant to be funny. But it’s also a pained realization, a stark confession.

This is more than a purposeful stepping-up to claim the mantle of conflicted lothario that’s been a hip-hop mainstay for years. It’s more complicated than that; still an extension of the wiseass-surrealist-sensualist-nerd persona Father projected on his previous two albums and within the myriad of other appearances he’s made with his Atlanta-based Awful Records crew and affiliated others.

He’s also a secret Goth, a gloom-and-doom sci-fi kid with the apocalypse on his brain, and a poet of the imaginative possibilities of hedonism. The last words of the album: “I want to die a little / cry a little / get a little high right now.” It’s a mantra that’s also his version of a big crashing pop hook -- that is, a mumbled, stumbled-through, slightly demented hook. And the song, “Y U Make It Hurt Like This”, is also sort of a love song, and a what-does-life-amount to tragic ending.

The album has many dark anthems like this. Once you’ve grown accustomed to Father’s aesthetic, several of them feel like massive, crashing-through hits. Genuine pop jams that are also drugged-up, eroticized, emotionally confused and misleading instant cult classics. There’s the opener “Why Don’t U”, featuring one semi-star that ascended from the Awful fold (ILoveMakonnen) and one will-be-a-star (Abra). The two guests begin the song, Abra breathlessly personifying both a collective voice, of women following our would-be hip-hop superstars demanding love or sex or something (a repeated “why don’t you love me, Daddy?”, sung like a sexy robot) and also serving as the voice of a particular woman, as messed-up on pills as the men, questioning reality and looking for answers (“is this love, Daddy?”). Makonnen is in brilliant unhinged form, playing the role of the spurned, confused one. Father, as is typical, adds both warped humor and a note of deep regret. Actually this time it’s more the latter – pills have him blacking out, blackouts him doing things he doesn’t remember doing, which makes him wonder what is real and what he’s really feeling.

A few of the album’s hardest jams live within the mentality of those blackout nights, but from the voice inside his head that says to follow base impulses and ignore the other voice saying it’s a bad idea. “Fuck Up the Sheraton” is one, with Father and Archibald Slim (Awful’s best rapper, when it comes to more standard gauges of rapping proficiency) out on the prowl. “Peel money / touch bitches” is the mantra here. (Father’s music is filled with mantras, by the way, that sum up the central feeling behind a song while the music either supports it or questions it, depending on the sentiment.)

The chest-beating, (self-)hate-filled joyride “Big Emblem Benz” is like a demonic mirror image of a classic speaker-rattling car jam. “Party On Me” puts Father and I Love Makonnen back together, along with Ethereal, for some wallowing in the misery of screwing women over and then getting a taste of your own medicine and not liking it. A perfect coming together of awkward hook-singing, turned-on but disgusted rapping and ghostly atmosphere.

That song makes clear the mix of melancholy, self-disgust and confusion that lies behind the whole album. Whether he’s having sexual fantasies, feeling paranoid in the middle of a partying life or questioning the

Father’s delivery and the music behind him says all of this even more clearly and convincingly than the lyrics themselves. Where the lyrics capture it all – the boasting and partying and its conflicted flipside – the music and his voice carry the pain and dismay much more overtly. There’s a slow-motion vibe to the entire album. It exists in a haze. Little pieces of the music stick in your brain days after listening, like the ghostly memories of those blackout nights. Father himself sounds half-asleep and fully alert to everything life has to offer, especially when it comes to bodies and experiences.

“I’m a piece of shit” is what you say when you’ve caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize how gone you are. It’s what you say when you have a moment of clarity after a wasted year, when someone says something to you that cuts through everything and hits you in the heart, to wake you up to what a jerk you’ve been.

I’m a Piece of Shit the album captures that moment and what came before it. It emulates the wasted nights while seeing them through the morning after.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.